BADGER BLOG: The Caribbean hopes as the CPLt20 shines

The organisers of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League t20 will have been nervous. Anyone holding a party prays that their guests enjoy the hospitality on offer. For the organisers of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPLt20) the stakes were high on 30 July. The invitations had long been sent, the finger buffet was made ready and the music turned up.

All that was left to do was as they sat back hoping their guests would arrive in party spirit. They were not disappointed.

by James Buttler

As someone that grew up, in fact first got excited about cricket when, watching the flamboyant West Indians of the 1970s and 80s, it is exciting to see stands packed with crowds ravenous for the sport the Caribbean is most famous for.

Trophy Unveil-3The tag line from the CPLt20 marketers was ‘We’ve come to play!’ and so far, and it is still early days, everyone from players, spectators, organisers, sponsors and broadcasters are playing.

In testing economic times the punters are digging deep and the sponsors have too. Veteran West Indies cricket correspondent Tony Cozier wrote in his Cricinfo column, “We have to go back to Lawrence Rowe’s triple-hundred in 1974 and Michael Holding’s over to Geoffrey Boycott in 1981 to find the Kensington Oval so jam-packed with West Indians (as opposed to English tourists).”

The standard of cricket so far has been pretty special and the success is a lesson to English authorities, that if you plan big, deliver, recruit overseas stars well and devote a few weeks to a t20 festival the sky is the limit. Instead the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) plan to go against everything that is working well throughout the rest of the world by diluting their domestic t20 competition throughout the entire English summer.

The Caribbean venture imitates the Indian Premier League’s successful model and the hope is it will put money in the banks of players and West Indian cricket. The development of future international stars and the future of the West Indies in the Test arena almost solely depends upon its success.

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Ajmal Khan pictured second from right on the opening night

Khan should take immense credit. Not only have the finances stacked up, but he aimed high and to the most part has reached his goals. With the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) still to rid themselves of the sour taste of Allen Stanford’s collapsed t20 dealings the pressure was on.

Khan also promised to stake ‘whatever it takes, in the hundreds of millions” to ensure the tournament gained maximum reach throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the world. He was true to his word and has been ably assisted by Irishman Denis O’Brien, head of Digicel, who is listed as the tournament’s owner. Digicel have moved their interests from the national team to the CPLt20. They see more exposure available to their brand that way.

The marketing has been well targeted and from a media standpoint the readiness and flow of information to anyone looking to cover the tournament is impressive.

So far it is the franchises of Barbados and Guyana who have exploded from the blocks the quickest.

If, like me, you have happy memories of the Calypso cricket of your youth we can only hope that the CPLt20 continues to shine.

The tournament so far

Teams

Mat

Won

Lost

Tied

N/R

Pts

Barbados Tridents

3

3

0

0

0

6

Guyana Amazon Warriors

2

2

0

0

0

4

Antigua Hawksbills

1

0

1

0

0

0

St Lucia Zouks

1

0

1

0

0

0

Jamaica Tallawahs

1

0

1

0

0

0

Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel

2

0

2

0

0

0

Day One (30 Jul) and from the very first ball the tournament was alive. Dwayne Smith of Barbados Tridents swung at an away swinger from St Lucia Zouks Albie Morkel and edged behind. We were off. Kieron Pollard was a man under pressure, but the best players respond to it – he was Man of the Match. There had been protests in Bridgetown when Trinidadian ‘Polly’ was named their skipper ahead of local hero Smith. He made an unbeaten 61, took 3-15 including the final wicket to secure victory by 16 runs and spark Bajun celebrations.

Nicholas Pooran (photo WindiesCricket)

Nichola Pooran (photo Windies Cricket)

Day two (31 Jul) and the Guyana Amazon Warriors recorded a home win against Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel by 19 runs. The Warriors Krishmar Santokie was Man of the Match for his 2-20 which derailed the run chase, yet any justice would have seen Red Steel’s Nicolas Pooran rewarded. The youngest player in the competition at 17-years-old had only played 4 List A matches for T&T prior to this game, but he came in at 50-3 with 106 runs needed from 9.4 overs and crashed 54 runs from 24 balls including 6 sixes and a four. He got his team closer than they ever expected. Prior to the tournament he had told us, ““Any 17-year old who has been given an opportunity such as this would grasp it with both hands and that’s what I plan to do.”

Day three (1 Aug) and Barbados Tridents made it two-in-two as they squeezed out the Antigua Hawskbills by 12 runs at the Kensington Oval. Shakib-al-Hasan was Man of the Match as his four overs claimed 1-16 as the visitors failed to chase down 147 to win. Ashley Nurse took 4-28 and must wonder why his name was not read out at the presentation ceremony.

Day four (2 Aug) and Guyana Amazon Warriors made it successive opening wins in a commanding 8 wicket win over a disappointing Jamaica Tallawahs in Guyana. Lendl Simmons took the Man of the Match Award with an unbeaten 67 from 44 balls including 5 fours and 4 sixes to drive the Warriors home.

Day five (3 Aug) and Barbados secured a hat-trick of wins by beating Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel by 4 wickets with 12 overs of the match remaining. Only four batsmen reached double figures and Shakib-al-Hussan secured back-to-back Man of the Match Awards in style with 6-6 from his 4 overs as the visitors were skittled for only 52 inside 13 overs. His spell included a triple wicket maiden and his analysis was the second best ever recorded in t20 cricket. Fidel Edwards 5-22 was impressive in reply but unrewarded.

Day six will see us entertained by a double header. The Antigua Hawksbills play Jamaica Tallawahs while Guyana Amazon Warriors play host to St Lucia Zouks.

James Buttler

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
James Buttler

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